Leafy Greens task force formed to prevent future outbreaks

The California and Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreements along with United Fresh Produce Association, the Produce Marketing Association, Western Growers and other stakeholders are pleased to announce the formation of a Leafy Greens Food Safety Task Force designed to assess and address issues associated with recent foodborne illness outbreaks attributed to consumption of leafy greens and to prevent such a tragedy from occurring in the future. Like many of you, we have questions about how romaine lettuce came to be the source of this recent outbreak. As families, farmers, and scientists who grow the food served at your tables and our own, we need to make sure that leafy greens are safe. California and Arizona produce more than 50 billion servings of leafy greens every year to American consumers. The leafy greens community shares a common goal to strengthen the way our food is grown, harvested and distributed. The purpose of this Task Force is to sharpen our food safety systems through the entire supply chain.

Taskforce Membership will include representatives of:

  • Growers from Arizona, California and other production regions

  • Shippers and processors from Arizona, California and other production regions

  • Produce Industry and related trade associations

  • State and local government agencies

  • Scientists and researchers in the food service arena

  • Consumer advocacy

  • The buyer community

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will be involved on a collaborative basis, serving as technical and informational advisors to the task force.

Today we are also announcing that a steering committee has been formed to facilitate the efforts of the Leafy Greens Food Safety Task Force. The Steering Committee will oversee the process and keep the efforts of the Task Force effort moving forward.

LEAFY GREENS FOOD SAFETY TASK FORCE STEERING COMMITTEE

Co-Chairs: Jerry Muldoon, Dole Fresh (AZ LGMA) Steve Church, Church Brothers (CA LGMA) Committee Members:

Members:

John Boelts, Desert Premium Farms Mary Campbell – Yuma Safe Produce Council Bonnie Fernandez – Center for Produce Safety Ed Foster – Arizona Dept. of Agriculture Hank Giclas/Sonia Salas – Western Growers Scott Horsfall – California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement Natalie Krout-Greenberg – California Department of Food and Agriculture Teressa Lopez – Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement Drew McDonald, Taylor Farms Jennifer McEntire – United Fresh Produce Association Vicki-Lynne Scott, Amigo Farms Victor Smith – JV Smith Companies Abby Taylor – Grower-Shipper Association of Central California Michael Taylor – STOP Foodborne Illness Shelly Tunis – Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association Jack Vessey - Vessey Farms Kami Weddle - Rousseau Farms Bob Whitaker – Produce Marketing Association

Federal agencies will be involved on a collaborative basis, serving as technical and informational advisers to the task force.

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